Four years ago, Steve and Sharon Ward noticed a dirty and emaciated stray cat hanging around their Perry Hall house. They'd begun leaving food outside for another stray cat, and the second one soon caught their attention.
"She was very skittish," says Steve. "She would peek her head around the corner but always run if we tried to approach her." They dubbed the kitty Mystery Cat, and when the first cat stopped coming around, Mystery Cat kept eating outside the Wards' home. That went on for six months.
"She'd hide in the bushes at the edge of our yard and when she heard us open our sliding door, she would emit a very loud, clear meow because she knew she was about to be fed," says Steve. After a lot of debate, the Wards decided to adopt her if she'd come in, which turned out to be easier than anyone imagined.
"On New Year's Day 2010, we opened the sliding door," says Steve. "She ran in the house, scurried right under our couch, and hasn't been outside since." As it turned out, a neighbor had kicked Mystery Cat out after deciding she wasn't wanted anymore, turning her out to fend for herself instead of taking her to a shelter.
All's well that ends well, though. Mystery Cat has made herself quite at home, playing with toys, enjoying games of fetch with a favorite rubber ball, and cuddling on the couch with her humans, which is a far cry from begging for food outside. And the humans in the house have a message for their beloved pet's former owner.
"To that neighbor," says Steve, "All we can say is 'Thanks.'"
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun
(Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun /August 26, 2014)
What's the best way to deal with seasonal allergies?
Pets react to airborne allergies just like humans do. But when they inhale these potential allergens, instead of just sneezing and sniffling, they get very inflamed and itchy skin that can become infected. It is important to treat any secondary infections or underlying conditions before starting to treat seasonal allergies. The idea of treating seasonal allergies is to make the skin less reactive. Here are some of the agents used to treat or manage allergies for pets.
Some pets respond to these. There are a variety of choices, but, just like humans, not all pets respond to the same antihistamine.
Fatty acid supplements:
These work together with antihistamines to help manage the skin inflammation.
Steroids or cortisone-type medications:
These are highly effective in managing the itching and giving temporary relief. But because they have significant side effects, these are not ideal for long-term management.
Using a medicated shampoo helps remove the allergens from the skin and also provides a calming effect.
Immunotherapy or allergen shots:
This would involve giving shots at regular intervals and at longer intervals based on response.
Your veterinarian can provide you with more information on which therapy might be best for your pet.
This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email email@example.com.
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